Switch Career?

So, I’ve been working in software development for 12 years and before that, I’ve been coding stuff in my free time for 20 years. I started when I was very young and it’s always been a passion of mine. Over the years I’ve gained a lot of experience in a lot of different fields. Database, CMS, Game Programming, UI, web, and lots more. Not only in programming either, but I’ve also got an education in networking, been doing a lot of work in various 3d software such as blender, maya, and 3ds max. Computers have been my life since a got my first C64 at the age of 7 and I’ve never looked back.

Currently, I work as a software architect at a medium-sized company but still spends the largest part of my day coding, creating stuff. In my eyes, I’ve reached success in my work-life. But I’m not happy anymore. I don’t have that spark anymore, at least not at work. I still spend my evenings coding and still love that, but at work, I can’t seem to motivate myself anymore. I do my job better than most at my company but without passion, without taking that one extra step to make the code really awesome.

I’ve been feeling like this for the last couple of years and I don’t really know why, but I have some theories.

Two of my previous job was really toxic, both with aggressive bosses and a lot of pressure. The first of those two was a startup and when I started there I only had around 3 years of experience, but I was still one of the lead developers. This was a startup and today they have several hundreds of employees. I was solo developer for a number of big projects while rewriting the entire platform and it was just too much pressure and after a couple of years, I hit the wall, hard. I woke up one morning and couldn’t get up out of bed. I had panic attacks and I really thought I would die, there, right in my bed. Well, I didn’t. What happened was that I went on sick leave for nearly a year. And it was during this year I started thinking that software development was not for me. I came eventually back at my job and after a month the toxic boss told me to man up and that maybe I was not cut out to be a developer. So of course, the day after I signed the contract for a new job and then resigned. And the toxic boss, he was mad, screaming, threatening me and gave me a hard time during my last three months.

The next job was fine and also a startup and we got bought but this really big global company but after a couple of years i started looking around for something new.

During the interviews everything looked fine, I would take a lead developer role/mentor for a bunch of guys and they really became my friends. But again the management was crap. Aggressive and thinking that developers were magicians that could do anything in just a day or two. There were one developer with experience and all the rest was freshly baked.

The first day I walked into that place I immediately felt that this would end badly. The other experienced programmer quit just a couple of months, after an argument with the boss, and one got fired. During the next year all of the developers were leaving one by one. And all left because of one person, the boss. This where the second time i started thinking software development was not for me.

So of course, I quit, again.

My current job is a bigger company that been around for 40 years and I thought things would be more stable. And I guess it is. But oh boy it’s boring. We are not allowed to take any decisions on ourselves, everything needs to go through the ‘architect team’ which I’m now a part of. And that team, well, there is this one guy, he needs to approve everything. So a simple decision could take literally years. The challenges in this job are not in development, it’s politics.

So now I’m questioning it again. Is software development anything for me?

I still love coding, on my real projects but I loath anything that goes with it in a professional environment. The aggressive bosses, the insane pressure, and the hidden hierarchies.

So, the plan?

I’ve been working with my side projects for a long time, some been really close to getting off the ground, some just a complete and utter failure, and that’s fine, failure is just another way of learning. And I still work at my side projects, hoping they will take off. But right now, I just want to do something else.
I could get a new job in software development tomorrow if I wanted, but it will probably just be the same, over and over and over again.

One career I always wanted to get into is the field of cybersecurity and this is where I will go. I have some of the essential skills that I need. I have a lot of experience in a variety of technologies that I could leverage but there are some big gaps as well. But it is time to switch.

I’ve been poking around with this for a number of years. Doing hackthebox, pentestlab, tryhackme, bounties and much more but now is the time to take it to the next level. The biggest problem I can see is that there aren’t that many companies doing pentests in my country meaning it will be hard to get the job that I want, which at the same time pays a nice salary not to much lower than my current job.

So what are my options then?

  • Start a consultant company and offer pentest services, security scans, and so on while offering development as well. And then try to evolve it to be a pure cybersecurity company.
  • Get REALLY good at bug bounty.
  • Try to get a job at some of the very few companies in my country.

None of these are ideal. Starting a company is risky and at this point, I have not enough experience. The bug bounty is highly competitive and unsecured. Getting a job could mean I have to move to the capital, but I have a life right here, with friends, kid, wife, and a house.

I guess I will just wait and see. What I do know is that I need to do something else and that I need to study and gains experience. I will probably need some certifications as well. It will be a long road, but it is a road I’m prepared to go.